The independent voice of cricket

IPL 2024

Five replacement signings that proved to be fruitful in IPL

Chris Gayle (L) and Phil Salt (R) make the list of replacement players who have impressed in IPL over the years.
by Atri Sanfui 3 minute read

The dynamics and team combinations of the Indian Premier League (IPL) are such that even the best cricketers may fail to find buyers for themselves eventually going unsold.

Due to the cramped cricketing scheduling these days, more often than not are players forced to withdraw from the IPL. Teams name midway replacements, some of whom change their fortunes. Here’s a rundown of the top five replacement buys that worked wonders in IPL history.

Chris Gayle

After going unsold in the mega auction, Gayle’s IPL career got a new lease of life when the Royal Challengers Bangalore (now Bengaluru) signed him up as a replacement for Dirk Nannes in IPL 2011. He made a roaring comeback to the IPL with 608 runs, the most that year, including two centuries and three half-centuries. He represented RCB in 85 matches, scoring 3,163 runs at a strike-rate of 154, and still holds the record for most IPL sixes.

Doug Bollinger

Bollinger‘s signing by Chennai Super Kings in 2010 in place of an injured Jacob Oram forged one of the most successful partnerships between a replacement player and an IPL franchise. His three-year stay resulted in two consecutive titles for CSK in 2010 and 2011 and a runners-up finish in 2012. From 27 matches, he has 37 wickets at 18.73 and 7.22 with a career-best of 4-13 in the 2010 semi-final.

Imran Tahir

Tahir was released to the auction pool in 2017 following a lukewarm season despite tasting instant success with Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals) in 2014 and 2015. An injury to Mitchell Marsh prompted the defunct Rising Pune Supergiants to name Tahir as replacement. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands, returned 18 wickets in 12 games at an economy of 7.85, and was pivotal to Pune’s runners-up finish that season.

Lendl Simmons

Having entered IPL 2014 as champions, Mumbai Indians struggled initially, losing four games on the trot. Midway through the season, they released Jalaj Saxena, whom they had picked after his dream run in the 2013/14 domestic season. Saxena, who took two 10-wicket hauls and scored 545 runs in that first-class season,  was replaced by Lendl Simmons. The tweak turned MI’s fortunes as Simmons, with 394 runs in eight innings at 56.28 and 135, led Mumbai’s revival in that season. They eventually bowed out in the playoffs against CSK. The following year, he was instrumental in Mumbai’s title win, finishing as their highest scorer with 540 runs, including six fifties.

Phil Salt

Salt’s snub at the 2024 auction raised a few eyebrows, given his success in his maiden IPL season, in 2023, and his form for England. He struck at 164 for Delhi Capitals in 2023 before being released. He had hit his maiden T20I hundred days before the auction and followed it up with another hundred after the bidding war, calling the omission “confusing”.  Before the start of the 2024 season, Kolkata Knight Riders snapped him for INR 1.5 crore as a replacement for Jason Roy, who opted out due to personal reasons. He has provided KKR several blazing starts with Sunil Narine. They added 86, this year’s best powerplay score so far, against RCB. He also hit a quickfire 89 against the Lucknow Supergiants to hand KKR their fourth win in five matches.

Subscribe to the Wisden Cricket YouTube channel for post-match analysis, player interviews, and much more.

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99